When we think of the Disney parks, often the very first thing that comes into anyone’s mind is the characters.
Visitors all have visions of this wonderful dream world that is full to the brim of their much-loved favourites such as Mickey Mouse or Cinderella, all of them walking around, meeting people and playing with children just like on the commercials.
But what is the reality of characters in the Disneyland Paris parks?
Both of the parks at Disneyland Paris have a permanent meet and greet locations for various characters, as well as what I like to call “pop up” meet and greets for a multitude of other characters. On top of this, Disneyland Paris also has multiple character dining locations.
At the permanent character spots, you will often find yourself in quite a big line of people waiting for your turn, which can often be very irritating, especially if you have young children who just don’t want to wait, and so start to get bored. But are the queues really all that bad?
Let’s take a look at previous years at Disneyland Paris, which saw a train bringing a selection of characters up Main Street. The train would stop at the Central Plaza for characters to get off and to go and meet as many people as they could within a set time limit before they were whisked off back onto the train and left again. Sounds amazing right? But what if I were to tell you that there were no lines to wait and meet these characters? It was just a huge free for all, in which you could’ve been the first family there, yet still not gotten to meet any characters because you were pushed and pulled out of the way by others.
This was the reality for a very long time at Disneyland Paris, at pretty much every meet and greet apart from character dining locations, and even then you often had rogue family’s barge in at your table. It is only in recent years that Disneyland Paris have introduced the current system, which in my opinion is working very well.
We now even have the Lineberty app for multiple characters in chosen locations. For these characters you cannot just walk up and join the queue, you must book on Lineberty beforehand. Again this is something Disneyland Paris brought in to cut queue times, sort of a fastpass to meet particulars popular characters such as Olaf and Jack Skellington.
But once again the system is flawed. The booking for these meet and greets does not open until 10.15 am in the day of the meet and greet, and within minutes, all spots are usually taken. This doesn’t mean however that you are completely out of luck, for spaces may become available throughout the day, or if you are a solo visitor, the Cast Members attending the character may allow you into line.
As mentioned earlier, Disneyland Paris also has multiple character dining locations. Although these are pricey, you will be meeting many characters, who will come to you! No need for the long waits in line, no bored children.
One of the great character dining locations is Auberge de Cendrillon, next to the castle in Fantasyland. Here you can have breakfast or dinner with three or four Disney Princesses without the long queue. Whereas at the Princess pavilion you will often be waiting for well over an hour for just one.
Yes, this option is expensive, with prices set to rise again, however for the experience and for the amount of princesses you will meet, I can highly recommend this option…. Who knows you may even meet a prince or two as well.
Disneyland Paris also has seasonal events in which you can meet and see several characters from other franchises such as Marvel and Star Wars, that you would not see otherwise.
Overall the character offering at Disneyland Paris is quite extensive, and we see a lot of characters that the American parks simply don’t see. Even if you don’t meet and greet with any of them, and pretty much every corner you turn you will find a character or two. You can always see them walking through the parks, and you may even spot them playing about at some of the merchandise kiosks. There are multiple parades and shows, and characters considered to be rare are known to make appearances as well!
With all of these characters, available even just to look at, who could be disappointed with the character program at Disneyland Paris? After all it is the most magical place in Europe!